chapter  4
20 Pages

The emergence of monotheism

ByJeremiah W. Cataldo

Discussions of monotheism, popular and academic, often presuppose that monotheism was an evolutionary stage beyond polytheism on the same religious continuum. The methodological strategy analyzes the particularities of different sociopolitical forces that shaped the historical contexts out of which monotheism emerged so spectacularly. In any discussion of the emergence of monotheism in Yehud, one cannot project modern monotheistic sentiments upon the past, as though the past were an immature version of them. One of the more difficult things to make sense of when analyzing the historical context of ancient Judah or Yehud is the so-called Mosaic Law. A position of love is a commitment of faithfulness, and a commitment to the political ideal and structure that supported the authority of Yahweh over the kingdom of Israel/Judah. Joachim Schaper's proposal provides political motivation for Cyrus's attribution of Yahweh as the "god of the heavens" instead of the imperial deity, most often identified as Ahuramazda.